This blog is about living the American Dream at the dawn of the new millennium! I am a nameless, mid-20s, bottom 150 Law School Graduate who finds himself marginally attached and awash in a sea of overeducated but underpaid, indentured peers who feel, and were, duped by the promise of a better life through debt and modern chemistry. Let's get to the point. The Law School Industrial Complex is a scam that has destroyed a generation out of greed. Vendettas were once legal and the pursuit of one was seen not only as moral, but necessary. This newly minted lawyer is going to continue the practice. DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL YOU MORONS! Ce qui suit est ce qui reste!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Screw U Assclown, Higher Ed Incorporated & Magazines


"Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education." ~ Bertrand Russell by way of Nando at Third Tier Reality

“I didn't learn shit from book learning.” ~ Spongebob Squarepants, fry cook extraordinaire



Unlike my fellow scamblogger Jobless Juris Doctor, I'm lucky enough to still have my own laptop (although it's seen much better days).  I honestly don't know what I would do without it (but that's a whole different can of worms for discussion's sake).  Because I live in a major city that has free WiFi, my laptop has become one of the few last outlets I have to what is going on in the world at large.  The amount of information available on the internet for free is amazing...if you have the means to process, interpret, and synthesize it...otherwise many of the little brains will be overloaded (though a strong case could be made that the internet exists solely for porn).


Look at that Ted! These schmucks think they'll have an economy one hundred years from now! Makes me smile at the stupidity!

Back when I had a living wage, hope, and my soul hadn't been destroyed by the process of becoming a lawyer  Before I went to law school, I used to buy essentially useless yet enjoyable consumer products do things that, at the time, I never gave a second thought about...and now view as amazingly wonderful luxuries that I completely took for granted.  Things like seeing a movie in a theater instead of having to find a bad cam version from a foreign server that takes three hours to DL, eating at a restaurant where the napkins aren't made of paper, or, probably, my favorite simple pleasure---buying a magazine.  God how I used to love magazines.  I used to spend what I now consider a fortune on magazines (in fact one of my lifetime goals was to own a copy of every month of National Geographic until I died but you can now see the gap in the long line of them where the economic reality struck).


I know babies...I miss you too, but you're not the first thing in my life I've loved and lost.

They were both outlets and material object in one, its something Kindle and iPad people don't understand (much like books...in fact I used to collect rare or first edition books as a hobby...but they're gone now I don't want to discuss further).  I used to love having the time and energy and spirit in going to a news stand and picking up the latest edition of one of my favorites like Playboy Esquire or Barely Legal Foreign Affairs Journal.  I'd sit down at some hip coffee place outside in my sunglasses and really the same thing as the orange jumpsuit from the tv show Oz business suit to have a cup of coffee as I reveled in the latest news and opinions.



What happened to my joy of magazines?  Take a wild fucking guess.  To paraphrase Professor Tammy---what do you think happens when you spend over $100K, have no income for 3 years as you can't be a full time student and work more than 20 hours a week...even if you wanted to...according to ABA regulations, and you have worse job prospects than you did before (as well as the inability to shift into anything other than the "law" because no one would touch you...probably for good reasons on their part).

In short, Life and the Law Scam happened.  I'm not about to write a Woe Is Me story, because 1) it's too fucking easy 2) it bears no relevance to the substance of my arguments 3) if for no other reason, my particulars would make me readily and easily identifiable.

SO...what does this have to do with Higher Ed and Professor Brian T's bullshit post?

My learned colleague, and I'll call him a "colleague" unless of course he let his bar license(s) lapse because he said to himself "Well now I've got this steady revenue stream w/out ANY LIABILITY so I guess I won't need these anymore because there's no way I'll get booted out of this fucking racket and have to actually earn a living!", Professor Brian Tamanaha's blog has been picked up by several "mainstream" outlets.  One of my many criticisms about the post, that some of my fellow scambloggers who have never worked in academia may not understand, is that Professor Brian T benefited from it---not exposed himself by writing about it.  He's helping himself the way professors in Higher Ed are forced to by the system they're a complicit part of to put food on the table (as well as "research & write" if that's what you call what he does, jet set to conferences and the other job perks on the backs of students' futures).  There's a reason why I have previously compared law school to slavery, and I'm not the first or only one to do so.

You think that Brian exposed himself or risked anything by that carefully worded statement?  Absolutely not, in fact it was wildly clever of him.  Here's why---

In the Higher Ed Scam Industry, one of the many elements of the rubric used by the Admin-Professors for determining your "value" and "tenure position" at the institution is what's collectively known as "professional development."  Professional development means exactly what it sounds like---your development/evolution/notoriety as an "intellectual" within "serious" fields of study (law schools differ slightly but not by much).  If you notice the resumes & credentials of any Higher Ed professor, the vast majority, including those in law, aren't exactly overflowing with what real world practitioners would consider "experience."  They may have some sure, but not the kind that makes you say "Oh Wow" at most you'll get an "Oh--ok so he/she did that...private aviation law...exciting..."


Wait a second...why steal it when we can get the idiots to GIVE IT TO US...I know let's con them with "education"!!!!

You see one of the maxims in Higher Ed is "publish or die!"  By publish---I mean shit like writing a book entitled Understanding Law in Micronesia: An Interpretive Approach to Transplanted Law (Brill 1993).  How many people do you think read that?  Even if you include everyone who is in Micronesia maybe a total of seven.  How much do you think changed for the better because of his interpretive approach?




Publishing in academia is like shitty bands for indie hipsters---the more obscure or weird sounding name the band has, the more desirable "street cred" it gets amongst your peer group.  It's spun as being "scholarly" or "academic" about some fucking issue that fucking matters.  This may be true to some extent for things like oh I don't know...curing AIDS.  But for the rest of the disciplines...no one gives a shit otherwise you would see people enrolling in "political science" able to open up on the corner "Ye Olde Shoppe of Political Science, Established 2010."  Academia is a giant echo chamber, a cult devoid and removed from reality...that's where the whole Ivory Tower metaphor comes from...you know a lofty place full of bullshit (ironically there's actually a building at GWU--top tier law school, literally named the Ivory Tower, but then again you want to talk prestige whore go have a convo with your average T1 Law Student).

There's a sliding value scale depending on Institutional Culture/Ranking but usually always includes the following:

1) Trade or discipline specific journals [take a look at this ridiculous list from the Washington University in St. Louis, Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology...really?]

2) Conferences & reports/studies

3) Books

4) Increasingly, appearing on television news programs or getting things "published" in popular magazines or journals...or having your story picked up & carried on the internet (some of my former teacher friends now rely on this exclusively as they can't break into the door of the "written" published world).

In the "hard" sciences, you may have seen it depicted in television and movies that you get a lot of "props" from the University powers that be for private or public grants/corporate or government partnerships.  This is absolutely true.  In fact when I worked in Higher Ed, the less a professor actually taught in the classroom with students the more valued they were by the institution.

The reasons for this are:
 
1) Prestige/name recognition brought to the university brand  
2) Amount of money that researcher/academic brings into the institute through their work  
3) Cat fights that invariably ensue amongst professors over workloads in terms of classes with the newest and most inexperienced getting all of the required classes because they're the largest thus have the most students thus the most grading and actual work involved.


Oh look at that! A real teacher! Making a real impact! I bet she gets paid shit tons of money!...what? It's Haiti...nevermind.

Higher Education as it has come to exist in America---is not education.  It's a fucking for-profit business conducted by people with a non-profit status (although that depends on the school because some are just blatantly for profit...see Locke's blog on U of Phoenix like schools). 

It's always been a business to some extent, but Harvard is starting their own fucking fashion line for Christ's sake.  They already have an obscene endowment.  Just go wikipedia university endowments to see what I mean if you don't believe the influence of money on the "learning" that goes on.

But let's face it.  There are a lot of fucking schools in the world now with a lot of fucking professors.  It's not that fucking easy to get published anymore even with the number of "important scholarly outlets" in the world (huh...what does that kind of market saturation sound like...oh I fucking know LAW SCHOOLS!!!)



So in conclusion, and done rambling, How did Professor T benefit from all of this given what I've said?

Professor Tammy is now ahead of the curve of his peers at the esteemed Tier 1/2/3/4/5 Law Schools.  

1)  He got his name out there in a way that his Micronesia study would never have done.

2) He's found a "niche" that allows him to continue commenting or even get acclamation for putting on a caring face about the plight of students (I predict a much longer "study" or "journal article" from him on the subject that has fucking nothing to do with changing the situation just like the rest of his scholarly work).

3)  As the 1st "Real Professor" to talk about it, media sources will revert to him for comment or reference him if anyone else in the "mainstream" happens to write about it.

He doesn't give a flying fuck.  Even though I think 99% of what he does is absolute horse shit, he's not that fucking stupid.  It didn't take blogs like the ones he mentioned on my sidebar to know what was going on.  If Forrest Gump was a fucking law professor and had access to the same information as Professor Tammy, he would have seen the writing on the wall too. Lieutenant Dan! She tasted like cigarettes! No shit sherlock.

Someone who cares would have done something by now.  We would have already heard about it by now.  It's not a fucking accident or conspiracy---it's an opportunist seizing on a moment.

Until students stop enrolling in higher ed programs of all stripes that lead ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE or the market self-corrects, nothing will change at all (I'd include education reform but let's get real that ain't fucking happening...unless your overseas...they actually do job specific stuff there).



Till Next Time! I'm dreaming of crisp magazine stacks and some real fucking change! Oh and Professor Tammy can go suck on a bag of dicks!!!

4 comments:

  1. higher education is a form of escapism for youth. It is like a multi-year reading of a fantasy novel or watching a movie for years at a time. It allows youth to avoid the realities of the american workplace grind.

    And in many cases it is actually a form of survival, seeing as how there are not enuf jobs for all the people who are in school.

    Actually, if income based repayment is available for years to come, going to school could be a great way to have a decent first half of adult life. Take all the school you want. Keep going for years, even decades. Take out all the student loans you can and stay in school at least halftime until you reach 62 years of age and are eligible for partial social security. Then apply for income based repayment, which would be zero.

    If I had been able to see into the future 3 years ago, I would have done just that--enroll in community college halftime, take out more student loans and avoid going into repayment on my law school loans. And just keep doing that until i get that SS check.

    ReplyDelete
  2. LQTM - Pretty sure that's a good plan to ensure a society collapses on itself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just when I was thinking of opening up a shop called "Ye Olde Shoppe of Gender Studies..."

    Great article.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hit the nail right on the head... better to be a carpenter. He is just another opportunist. Oh Main Street media may nibble around the edges of the education scam, but really what could you do with all the students who are currently enrolled and not in the work force?

    ReplyDelete